The Philadelphia Eagles are under a microscope after winning the NFC In 2023, and that means that even a 2-0 start has left some people unconvinced about whether they’re still the contenders they were last year.
Week 3 brings the perfect opportunity to silence those doubters though. We’re back in primetime with a great matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are 2-0, but they’re also a team the Eagles are more than capable of making a massive statement against.
Here are the keys to the Eagles blowing out the Bucs and proving they’re just as dangerous as ever on Monday Night Football in Week 3.
1. Unleash the Passing Attack
Maybe the biggest knock on the Eagles so far this season has been the inability to do any real damage through the air. Jalen Hurts has underwhelmed. Fingers have been pointed at new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson. AJ Brown has been frustrated. But that’s all about to change.
Both of the Eagles’ opponents so far have been above-average in coverage on the season according to Pro Football Focus’ grades (Vikings 5th, Patriots 14th), but the Buccaneers rank bottom-10 in coverage. They’ve also allowed the NFL’s 8th most passing yards per attempt.
Finally with a soft matchup, both AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith should be able to feast here. The Tampa secondary just doesn’t have the talent to contain either of them (let alone both of them).
The Tampa pass rush has been pretty good, but our offensive line is the best they’ve faced this season, and we should have no issues giving Hurts enough time to let some big plays develop downfield.
This is the game that will send all the Hurts doubters backtracking to delete all the complaints they Tweeted over the first two weeks.
2. Dare Them to Run
The Bucs’ offensive line has been well below average in run blocking this season, and they don’t have an overly talented backfield in behind that line.
So let them run.
With the Philly offense cooking, Tampa’s going to need to put up big numbers if they want to keep this game close, and running the ball is rarely the way to do that anyway. Running the ball with a deficit when your offensive line is struggling? You might as well be taking a knee.
Sean Desai can focus the Eagles’ defensive playcalling around rushing the passer and staying back in coverage — even if ignoring the run lets the Tampa backfield rip off a couple chunk plays we shouldn’t get away from that approach. Let it happen.
There’s no way they’ll keep up with Jalen Hurts without putting the ball in the air.
3. Don’t Give Baker Time
Ignoring the run will also let us stifle Baker Mayfield and stop him from having any hope of getting into a rhythm.
Baker’s only been sacked once this season, but he’s faced pressure on 36.0% of his dropbacks, which is an above-average rate among starting quarterbacks so far this season. The Eagles have one of the most dangerous pass rushes in the NFL (No. 4 in pressure rate), and we’re going to be all over Mayfield.
He’s done a good job getting the ball out quickly when facing pressure, but like running the ball, short quick passes just aren’t going to do the trick when you’re trying to keep up in a shootout. If he wants to fire off 3-yard passes all day we can let him.
Mayfield is averaging 16.3 yards per attempt and has 2 touchdowns on 8 deep passes (20+ yards) this season, and Mike Evans is having his usual massive impact as a downfield threat. That is what we need to stop.
Get in Baker’s face. Force him to throw short. His completion percentage doesn’t matter. Just don’t give up the deep pass, and the offense will handle the rest of making this a blowout.
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